Martha Argerich, pianist
Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and began her first piano lessons at the age of five with Vincenzo Scaramuzza. Considered a child prodigy, she soon performed in public. In 1955, she moved to Europe and continued her studies in London, Vienna and in Switzerland with Bruno Seidlhofer, Friedrich Gulda, Nikita Magaloff, Mrs. Madeleine Lipatti and Stefan Askenase. In 1957, she won the Bolzano and Geneva Piano Competitions and in 1965 the Warsaw International Chopin Competition. Since then, she has become one of the most prominent pianists in the world. Her wide repertoire includes works by Bach and Bartok, Beethoven and Messiaen, as well as Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Franck, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. Though regularly invited by the most prominent orchestras, conductors and music festivals in Europe, Japan and America, chamber music takes a significant part of her musical life. She regularly plays and records with Nelson Freire, Alexandre Rabinovitch, Mischa Maisky, Gidon Kremer and Daniel Barenboim. Her numerous recordings have garnered prestigious awards, including the Grammy, Gramophon, German Record Critics and BBC Music Magazine Award. Many of her performances were broadcast on television worldwide. Since 1998 she has served as Artistic Director of the Beppu Festival in Japan, in 1999 she created the International Piano Competition and Festival Martha Argerich in Buenos Aires, and in 2002 the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano. Martha Argerich has received numerous distinctions, among them Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1996) and Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2004) by the French Government, Musician of the Year by Musical America (2001), The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette by the Japanese Emperor and the prestigious Praemium Imperiale by the Japan Art Association (2005) as well as the Kennedy Center Honors (2016).